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Dunbarton weighs sending student to Goffstown or Bow schools

DUNBARTON - The School Board will hold a public forum on Jan. 30 for parents to compare their two choices of where to send their middle and high school children beginning in 2014.

In March, voters will be asked to choose whether to partner with Goffstown or Bow for educating its students in grades 7 through 12.

Both Dunbarton and New Boston are currently in an Authorized Regional Enrollment Area (AREA) agreement with Goffstown, which will end on June 30, 2014.

While New Boston has not offered any other alternatives than Goffstown to its residents, Dunbarton has crafted agreements with both Goffstown and Bow, and voters will make their final choice at their school district meeting on March 16 at 1 p.m.

According to a statement issued by the Dunbarton School Board, the presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Noyes Community Center at Dunbarton Elementary School, and will include an overview of the AREA agreement process, SAU considerations, a general comparison of each of the AREA Agreements, estimated cost comparisons, a generalized summary of curriculum similarities and differences, special education, and implications of either AREA Agreement to Dunbarton.

Other factors related to enrollment, test scores, travel time, and class sizes will be discussed, and a question and answer period will follow.

“The Dunbarton School Board is delighted that both Bow and Goffstown school systems offer very good educational opportunities,” the statement read, “and recognize that the process of deciding may be difficult for many residents.”

Dunbarton School Board member Jeff Trexler said the board hopes that residents will gather as much information as possible before making a decision.

“It’s vitally important that our voters become informed, because there are a lot of factors that come into play as they make their decision,” he said. “We want them to make an informed decision.”

In February, open houses will be held at all of the schools: at Goffstown’s Mountain View Middle School on Feb. 11, Bow Memorial School Feb. 12, Goffstown High School Feb. 19 and Bow High School Feb. 20.

Trexler said the school board is not advocating for either agreement and is only providing information to voters about their options.

“We’re just glad that voters will have two viable options to choose from,” he said.

Trexler stressed the need for residents to attend the School District meeting on March 16 at 1 p.m. at Dunbarton Elementary School.

Dunbarton participates in a town meeting form of government, where voting occurs immediately following discussion of warrant articles, including the school district’s operating budget.

“Folks have to be at this meeting if they want to have a voice,” Trexler said, but added that town and school district meetings are usually well-attended.

“The folks here in Dunbarton are very involved, and they participate,” he said.

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